Holistic Harmony hosts five-year celebration on July 29 | PostIndependent.com

Holistic Harmony hosts five-year celebration on July 29

Kay Vasilakis
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Holistic Harmony is observing five successful years of musical programs at Valley View Hospital. A celebration of a diversity of musical instruments and genres, good food and wine will be held from 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 29, in the hospital’s upper lobby.

The evening’s entertainment will begin with Barry Chapman and Conner Johnson playing eclectic world music; Mike Gurule with his classical guitar; Collage celtic and a cappella; Tom and Karen Cochran playing dulcimer and guitar; Heidi Paul singing opera; Jacob Russo singer/songwriter/guitarist; Landon Churchill with surprise encore audience participation; the Harmony Chorus; Frank Martin and singer/songwriters Zach Milby and Holly Richardson on violin, piano, and accordion playing ’60s Frank Sinatra-style lounge music; Elise Helmke on harp; and Rabbit Thomas with improv piano.

The Holistic Harmony music program is unique to the hospital setting. The music program and the Harmony Chorus have both won prestigious national Planetree awards. Valley View Hospital is a Planetree hospital. Planetree hospitals have met certain criteria, implementing and sustaining a culture of patient-centered care. Director of Holistic Harmony and the Harmony Chorus Lesa Russo will be speaking about the program at the national Planetree conference in Denver in October.

Russo is a little bundle of creativity and energy. She had the vision for Valley View’s Holistic Harmony music program, and brought the program to life. She brings caring to a whole new level.

“It is amazing what goes on behind closed doors when the musicians go in to play personally for patients, one-on-one,” said Russo. “The tears start to flow, and memories are brought to light. The music takes people to other places besides in their hospital bed. It is a great distraction. Patients are under a lot of stressors, dealing with not only their illnesses or injuries, but how it affects their work life, their finances, their families, pets, etc., and the music just seems to let them feel secure enough to let it out.”

Musicians play in various locations around the hospital and in patient rooms; and have extended out into the community in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and the homes of hospice patients. To the credit of Russo and her entourage of genuinely caring performers and the generous gift of time they provide, the program’s Harmony Chorus won the Harmony Chorus Award last year. The music program received the Music Program Award in 2006. Hospital employees nominate individuals and teams, which are recognized locally and at the yearly conference.

Planetree hospitals are located all over the world, and thousands of Planetree hospital representatives attend yearly conferences. This year’s conference will be held in Denver. Last year, Russo presented the topic of how to put on a hospital-based senior fitness program (Yampah Yahoos) at the national conference in Baltimore. Russo’s topic this year is how to start a music program at other hospitals. Planetree representatives will be coming to Glenwood to tour Valley View Hospital.

Tickets for the five-year celebration will be $25, available at the door. Come see what Holistic Harmony is all about.

The Garfield Re-2 Education Foundation has recently received two very generous $5,000 gifts from the C.H. Bernklau Charitable Lead Trust.

Carl Bernklau was born west of Rifle in 1919. He was a farmer and rancher, supported various clubs and organizations, and served on several conservation and preservation organizations, and served on the West Divide Water Conservancy District for 25 years. He passed away March 5, 2008.

The Garfield Re-2 Education Foundation was formed in 2001 at the request of school board President Vicki VanEngelenburg and the Re-2 school board. The foundation’s focus is to support programs that increase literacy skills, and it assists individual classrooms by funding projects to enhance student learning.

The foundation supports the students and staff of the public school district but conducts its business and makes decisions independently from the district. It secures resources for things the district doesn’t provide. The foundation receives funding from Alpine Bank’s Classroom Credits program, and has also received funding from the Wells Fargo Community Assistance Fund.

In the past, foundation funds have been used for mini-grants to support district teachers. In January, the foundation partnered with Rifle Rotary, the Rifle Elks and Alpine Bank to purchase hardcover, full-color illustrated dictionaries, which were given to all district third-graders.

You, too, can help the Garfield Re-2 Education Foundation in its mission to enhance quality education for district students. To make a tax-deductible donation, send checks payable to the Garfield Re-2 School District Education Foundation, 839 Whiteriver Ave., Rifle, CO 81650.

Kay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” column runs every other Wednesday in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. To contact her with a local nonprofit event or news item, e-mail kvasilakis2222@gmail. com or call 618-6689.

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